2018 Chrysler Pacifica

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Review

The Pacifica's well-crafted interior and advanced tech elevate this minivan to near-luxury status.
7.6 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

No other vehicle can match a minivan's ability to comfortably ferry passengers and cargo. But the minivan's utilitarian design and somewhat dorky public image are equally able to put off all sorts of shoppers. For those people, we recommend taking a look at the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica.

Sure, it's still a minivan, but with a curvaceous front end and luxurious cabin, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica is different from the others, and quite a departure from the capable yet long-in-the-tooth Town & Country it replaced last year. This is the minivan for those who crave more than just function.

Not that the Pacifica lacks the tenets that make minivans unique; after all, it's made by the company that created the modern minivan in the 1980s. In addition to a spacious cabin, roomy third row and ample cargo area, the Pacifica retains one of the Town & Country's best features: Stow 'n Go seats. Most minivans have a third row that neatly folds into the cargo pit to create a flat load floor behind the second row. The Pacifica is the only one with second-row seats that also fold into the floor. In just a few minutes, the Pacifica transforms from an eight-passenger people mover into a two-seater that easily fits 4-by-8 sheets of drywall.

We're equally impressed by the Pacifica's quality cabin appointments, especially in the top-trim Limited model. Soft-touch plastics, stitched trim and supple leather fill the interior, accenting other highlights such as an intuitive touchscreen interface and widely available rear-seat entertainment system. Light pours in through the massive dual-panel sunroof to illuminate the bright two-tone interior. And all the latest advanced driver aids are here, from blind-spot monitoring to an automated parking feature and adaptive cruise control.

There are drawbacks, of course. The nine-speed automatic is a little clunky, and many desirable features are tied to the high-end Limited model. But by and large, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica is worth your consideration for its enviable interior design, thoughtful cargo solutions, and numerous luxury and safety features.



What's new for 2018

The L trim debuts as the new entry-level Pacifica model, and blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, an upgraded Uconnect infotainment system, and newly available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the board. Many features are now available as stand-alone options on models throughout the range, including a panoramic sunroof for the Touring L Plus and a 20-speaker audio system for the Limited. HD radio is added to the upgraded 8.4-inch touchscreen. The rear-seat Uconnect Theater system can stream video from connected Android devices, and the navigation system now comes with 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity.

We recommend

While there are less expensive trims available, it's not until you get to the Touring Plus that you'll find features truly helpful to the prospective minivan buyer. These include full keyless entry, power-sliding rear doors, a power liftgate and three-zone automatic climate control. If we were at the dealership lot, though, we'd plunk down a little extra for the Touring L. This is where the Pacifica's appeal really comes into play, with a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a USB port in the second row, perfect for recharging phones and tablets.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica comes in six main trim levels: L, LX, Touring Plus, Touring L, Touring L Plus and Limited. The naming can be a little confusing but, as expected, the more expensive the trim level, the more standard features you get. There's also a Pacific Hybrid, which is reviewed separately.

Every Pacifica is motivated by a 3.6-liter V6 (287 horsepower, 262 pound-feet of torque) that sends power to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Seven-passenger seating is standard across the board, and eight-passenger seating is optional on all but the L model.

The base L trim level comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, keyless entry (for the driver door only) and ignition, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding third-row seat, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port and an auxiliary jack. Tri-zone climate control is available at an additional cost.

The Pacifica LX is equipped with alloy wheels, body-colored exterior trim, a driver information display, an automatic engine stop-start system, an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way lumbar), tri-zone climate control and folding/collapsible second-row Stow 'n Go seats.

Stepping up to the Touring Plus adds automatic headlights, foglights, LED taillights, chrome exterior trim, full keyless entry, remote engine start, power-sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, automatic climate control, satellite radio and a charge-only USB port located in the front row. The 18-inch wheels can be ordered separately.

The next level up is the Touring L. Its standard features include an eight-way power passenger seat (with power lumbar), heated front seats, leather upholstery, a second-row USB port and second- and third-row retractable sunshades.

There are several packages available for the Touring L. The Alpine Sound package adds a 13-speaker audio system and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with HD radio and a third-row USB port. The Advanced SafetyTec package bundles automatic high beam control, front parking sensors, a sound-reducing windshield, automatic wipers, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, an automated parking system, a top-down parking camera and a larger driver information display.

Later in the model year, a navigation system will be available for the Touring Plus and Touring L. For the Touring Plus, it also adds the 8.4-inch touchscreen and its upgrades. Also available for the LX, Touring Plus and Touring L is a rear-seat entertainment system with a DVD player.

The upgraded driver info display and sound-reducing windshield are included with the Touring L Plus, along with two sunroofs (panoramic for the first two rows and an additional fixed sunroof above the third row), a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, ambient lighting, the 8.4-inch touchscreen, navigation and the Alpine audio system.

The Touring Plus can be equipped with the Advanced SafetyTec pack, a 20-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and hands-free operation for the sliding rear doors and liftgate.

All Touring models can be further equipped with 18-inch wheels.

The top-dog Limited comes with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, LED foglights, auto-dimming exterior and rearview mirrors, power-folding mirrors, driver memory settings, ventilated front seats, premium leather upholstery, the hands-free liftgate and sliding doors, an in-vehicle vacuum cleaner and a power-folding third-row seat.

As loaded as it is, even the Limited can be bolstered with additional features. The Advanced SafetyTec package is available here, as is an upgraded rear entertainment system. It combines the 20-speaker audio system with a Blu-ray player, dual 10-inch seatback touchscreens, an HDMI input and a household-style power outlet. Twenty-inch wheels are sold as a stand-alone option.

Available on all models is a secondary driver key that Chrysler calls KeySense. Intended for younger drivers and valets, this key starts the car is a mode that limits top speed and volume, keeps all driver aids activated and restricts user-defined satellite radio channels. The Trailer Tow Group is available on Touring Plus models and above, and it adds a four- and seven-pin wiring harness and a 2-inch hitch receiver.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica (3.6L V6 | 9-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Pacifica has received some revisions, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Pacifica.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.6 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking8.5 / 10
Steering7.0 / 10
Handling8.0 / 10
Drivability6.0 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control8.5 / 10

Interior

8.5 / 10

Ease of use8.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.5 / 10
Driving position8.5 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility9.0 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Utility

8.0 / 10

Small-item storage9.0 / 10
Cargo space7.5 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation8.5 / 10
Smartphone integration8.0 / 10
Driver aids7.5 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10

Driving7.5

By minivan standards, the Pacifica performs well. It handles better than average, with good brakes and strong acceleration. It would get a better overall performance score if it weren't for the frustrating nine-speed transmission and vague steering.

Acceleration7.5

Off the line, the Pacifica feels a little sluggish and unresponsive, but with a heavy foot, it accelerates well. The 3.6-liter V6 is rated at 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph takes 7.7 seconds, which is pretty quick for the segment.

Braking8.5

In regular driving, the brakes are easy to modulate with a short pedal travel and good feel and response, without being overly sensitive. In a simulated-panic stop from 60 mph, the Pacifica took just 119 feet, a short distance for a minivan.

Steering7.0

Steering is well weighted and easy to control with a good on-center feel, but it communicates very little about what the wheels are doing. In low road-grip situations, good steering feel can help bolster driver confidence.

Handling8.0

Considering the Pacifica's size (around 4,600 pounds), handling is good. Body roll is limited, and it makes it around corners well, even if the steering doesn't feel all that precise. Midcorner bumps are dispatched with few issues.

Drivability6.0

The ZF nine-speed transmission is tough to live with. It hunts for the right gear on uphill grades and in traffic. Downshifts take a noticeably long time, too. Cruise control sticks to a set speed and uses the brakes to regulate speed.

Comfort7.5

There's a lot of comfort to be had in the Pacifica, but the seating position in the second and the third row can be a bit tight. The overly firm seat bolsters hurt the comfort score a bit, too. The ride, however, is smooth and calm.

Seat comfort7.0

All three rows have firm padding, so you might not find the seats to be quite as comfortable as those on other minivans. The second- and third-row seats recline but don't slide forward or back for comfort. The second-row seats are just large enough for adults, while the third row is most suitable for kids.

Ride comfort8.0

Ride is comfortable, settled and seldom interrupted by small or large road imperfections. Optional 20-inch wheels make the ride a bit more sensitive to potholes and cracks in the road but it's not unbearable.

Noise & vibration8.0

The V6 engine is relatively quiet, with a low-pitch rumble under full throttle that isn't unpleasant. There is minimal road noise and a small amount of wind noise created by the sideview mirrors at highway speeds, though we detected some rattles on occasion.

Climate control8.5

Climate can be controlled through knobs and buttons on the dash or through the touchscreen. Both ways are relatively easy to use. The A/C does a good job of keeping the entire cabin cool on hot days, and three-zone climate control is standard on all but the base L.

Interior8.5

Whether you're making the daily commute or spending a long weekend on the highway, the inside of the Pacifica is a pleasant place to be. If you're judging it strictly by the numbers, the Pacifica is marginally smaller than rivals, but it feels just as spacious as class leaders.

Ease of use8.5

The controls inside the Pacifica are very intuitive and easy to use. The buttons are large, easy to locate within arm's reach of the driver. The touchscreen controls are laid out well with frequently used commands available from the main home screen.

Getting in/getting out8.5

The front-row seats are a bit high, but there's a low floor and high ceiling to help out. The sliding rear passenger doors provide a generous opening to get in and out or load child seats, and there's a large gap between the second-row seats to access the third row.

Driving position8.5

The highly adjustable front seats and a tilt-and-telescoping wheel make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The steering wheel is on the large side and feels solid and hefty.

Roominess7.0

From the front seats, the Pacifica feels relatively large, with ample headroom and hiproom available. Legroom in the second and third rows, however, is just average. Competitors, including the Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona, beat it by a few inches.

Visibility9.0

Massive windows, big mirrors and clear lines of sight mean virtually zero blind spots. Blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera come standard, and a 360-degree surround-view camera is optional.

Quality7.0

At first glance, the Pacifica presents an upscale vibe with nice soft-touch surfaces for your elbows. Upon closer inspection, though, things are less than perfect with crooked stitching on the steering wheel and door panels.

Utility8.0

The Pacifica might not be the biggest vehicle in the class, but it only falls behind the leaders such as the Honda Odyssey by a few cubic feet. Stow 'n Go seating is an excellent feature, and when the seats aren't stowed, there's good storage underneath the floor.

Small-item storage9.0

The center console storage is adequate enough for large water bottles and a few snacks. There are a lot of small pockets everywhere in the cabin. Cupholders, cubbies and magazine slots are all present. Got a million little things? They'll all fit here.

Cargo space7.5

The Pacifica is near the bottom of the class for cargo capacity with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row and 140 cubic feet with the rear rows folded. However, the Stow 'n Go seats provide serious versatility that make up for the smaller overall volume.

Child safety seat accommodation7.5

The rear sliding doors provide great access for loading car seats. There are two sets of LATCH anchors in both the second and third rows, and with the optional eight-passenger configuration, the second row has a top tether anchor in the center seat.

Towing8.5

The maximum towing capacity for the Pacifica is 3,600 pounds, which is a marginal 100-pound advantage over the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna minivans.

Technology8.0

The Chrysler Uconnect system is one of the easiest systems to use, with simple controls and an intuitive device interface. The 2018 Pacifica is preferable to the 2017 model due to the upgraded hardware, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Audio & navigation8.5

Uconnect is one of the best systems in the class. The controls are easy to understand with a convenient menu on the lower portion of the screen for main commands. Navigation info can be displayed on the center screen or within the gauge cluster for easy viewing.

Smartphone integration8.0

Easy to plug in, boot up and index music quickly via multiple USB ports (depending on trim). No problems connecting our devices via Bluetooth either. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and you can stream video from an Android device to the rear screens with the Uconnect Theater system.

Driver aids7.5

Multiple driver aids are standard, while adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and a 360-degree camera are optional. The adaptive cruise control is overly sensitive at times, leaving a large following distance and braking hard when minor slowdowns occur in front of you.

Voice control8.0

The Pacifica comes standard with voice controls for audio, phone calls and voice text reply. The available 8.4-inch system adds Siri Eyes Free, which takes commands to play music, set reminders and access navigation.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.